Browsing through old postcards is one of my favorite pastimes. The photographs and illustrations document places and moments that once contained a level of value, importance and exuberant emotion.
When a dear friend of mine, Jeremy Greene, initiated the photography series called Memphis Type, I saw this as a great opportunity to mimic the old postcard illustration style of landmarks through paintings. Not only do I have a passion for typography, I also have a great love for the city of Memphis. It is a city that embraces its history, culture and art and there’s a lot of opportunity and community here.
In Memphis, you'll discover many small gems. My personal favorites include the space behind the oldest diner in the city, The Arcade Restaurant, where you'll find well-done graffiti, or the downtown hotel The Peabody where you can find great old photographs, and of course all the great eateries, such as Trolley Stop Market and Earnestine & Hazel’s Bar and Grill.
I created 11 paintings total from the Memphis Type series. Eight paintings have sold and two of the actual signs no longer exist. The goal of this project is to essentially preserve history through art, not just with an original painted art piece, but rather prints that can be accessible to anyone at an affordable price.
The landmarks I've chosen to portray bare their own stories and many people have come to me to tell their own stories associated with the places they see in my paintings. I've been inspired by people like the old woman who told me motel and trailer park Leahy’s was very special to her because she lived there for over 20 years and it was a good time in her life. I want to document Rubber Stamps because maybe your local rubber stamp store doesn't exist anymore. Ultimately, I want these stories to continue. I want them to be passed on to loved ones and delivered to the next generation. These prints are a way to begin that process.
With the help of Front Porch Art, I launched a Kickstarter project entitled “Prints for Preservation: A Project for Memphis History.” Front Porch Art does a great job of providing marketing support for artists, allowing them to tell the stories behind their artwork to anyone and everyone. They also sell artists’ work online and at local events. I was with them from the beginning of their launch. I helped them with branding and they’ve helped me market myself. I appreciate what they’re doing for the artistic community and this project.
If you love Memphis and you’d like a little of its history to be preserved, please support our campaign.
This project is part of GOOD's Saturday series Push For Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.